OPEN THINK TANK (OTT) organized its seventh conference under the name of Open Debates 7 in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Syria/Iraq office. The Open Debates is a series of public events such as conferences, meetings, and workshops held by Open Think Tank in collaboration with its partners. The following is the conference report which includes recommendations that were derived from a two-day conference debates, discussions, and questions and answers.

Conference Report by:
Dr. Mohammedali Taha , Revin Mahyad , and Hizel Hidayet

To get access to the full report, click here

The Open Think Tank is holding its seventh conference, Open Debates 7, in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).
The conference is on “WOMAN QUOTA IN IRAQ: LIMITING OR SECURING WOMAN POLITICAL PARTICIPATION” will be held on October 17-18, 2019 in Erbil, Gulan St., Sa’d Abdullah Convention Center.
The event will bring Members of two parliaments in Iraq together in a conference where they can discuss one of the main political arguments which is the quota system. In addition, the conference will be an opportunity for both legislators to discuss further possibilities of working together in promoting rule of law in Iraq. Furthermore, the conference will gather experts from all over Iraq and the objective of this event is to determine to what extent the women's representation and participation are secured due to the current quota system in Iraq.


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Date: June 13, 2019
Venue: the American University of Kurdistan, Duhok Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI)
Number of Speakers: 12 (9 Panel Speakers and 3 Panel Chairs) Total Number of Participants: 120 registered participants

OPEN THINK TANK (OTT) organized its Sixth conference under the name of Open Debates 6, in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), the Syria/Iraq office, and the American University of Kurdistan. The Open Debates is a series of public events such as conferences, meetings, and workshops held by Open Think Tank in collaboration with its partners.

Conference Report by Dr. Mohammedali Taha1Dr. Amjed Rasheed2
1 Dr. Mohammedali Taha is president of Open Think Tank
2 Dr. Amjed Rasheed is a post-doc researcher at Durham University, UK

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The Open Debates #5 attempted to contribute to the unfolding of the informal dialogue among the ethnic and religious minority, representatives, decision-makers, lawmakers, and stakeholders regarding the political participation of the minorities. One of the main goals of the Open Debates is

to disseminate the positions of these actors to a broader local, regional and international public through the event report, video, and printed proceedings. The following are a set of recommendations derived from Open Debate #5.

Get Access to the program of Open Debate 5: Click here.

Get access to the report of the conference

کۆنفرانسی ئۆپن دیبەیتسی پێنجەم، ھەوڵی ڕەخساندنی دەرفەتی دیالۆگ، گفتوگۆ و دیبەیتی کراوە و دەربڕینی بیروبۆچوونی لایەنە جوداکانی پەیوەست بە بابەتی بەشداری سیاسی کەمینەکان لە ھەرێمی کوردستانی عێراق دا.

ئامانجی سەرەکی کۆنفرانسەکانی ئۆپن دیبەیتس، سوود وەرگرتنە لە دەرەنجام و پێشنیارەکان، کە لە ئەنجامی گفتوگۆی شارەزایانی بواری بابەتی کۆنفرانسەکەدا دەردەکەون. لەم خاڵانەی خوارەوەدا، ئۆپن دیبەیتسی پێنجەم، پێشنیارەکانی خۆی پێشکەش دەکات:

بۆ داگرتنی راپۆرته‌كه‌ به‌ كوردی كلیك لێره‌ بكه

August 30, 2017, 09.00 – 16.30
Venue: Rotana Hotel, Gulan Street, Erbil

Organizers: Open Think Tank and Konrad Adenauer Foundation

Open Think Tank in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Foundation is organizing a one-day event with the title: “Applications and Limitations of the Legal and Civil Rights of Ethnic and Religious Minorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq”. 

The event will contribute to the ongoing discussion regarding the applications and limitations of the legal and civil rights of ethnic and religious minorities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The scope is to determine to what extent the representatives of ethnic and religious minorities living in the KRI and the disputed areas agree regarding the current situation of the legal protection of their rights and the possible perspective and changes in the near and far future.

Intended Audience:

Legislators, decision-makers, and community leaders from ethnic and religious minority groups in the KRI, along with local and international policymakers, experts, academics, media, and civil society representatives will take part in the discussion.


Along with Kurds, the KRI is the homeland to Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen, Armenians, and Arabs, together with Sunni-Shia divisions of the Muslims and other ancient religions, such as Christians, Yazidi, Kakaís, Shabaks, and Zoroastrians. The institutional arrangements of KRI give de facto rights to its minorities, but to what extent are these rights respected and applied under the current legal framework of the KRI? What is the current situation and what is the outlook for the future of ethnic and religious minorities?

The issue of minority rights becomes even more challenging when considering the disputed areas and the issues that arise out of the ambiguous situation in that areas. To what extent are the legal and civil rights of the populations and the religious and ethnic minorities living in these disputed areas respected and taken into consideration in the decision-making process? There is a need for continuous dialogue in dealing with ethnic and religious issues, especially in the context of continuous social and political instability in the region.


09:00 – 09:30 Arrival and Registration

09:30 – 09:40 Opening Session Welcoming words from Angela Movileanu/Open Think Tank

and Barbara Sabitzer/ Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Syria-Iraq Office

09:40 – 10:00 Keynote Speech

PANEL 1: Ethnic and Religious Minority Parliamentary Representatives in the KRI

Chair: Hoshyar Malo, KHRW

10:00 – 10:15 Lina Azriya, Member of Kurdistan Parliament, Assyrian Movement

10:15 – 10:30 Mohammed Sa’daddin, Member of Kurdistan Parliament, Turkmen List

10:30 – 10:45 Shamo Shekho Namo, Member of Kurdistan Parliament, Yezidi

10:45 – 11:00 Yerwant Armenian, Member of Kurdistan Parliament, Armenian

11:00 – 11:30 Discussion

11:30 – 11:45 Coffee Break


PANEL 2: Ethnic and Religious Minority Decision-Makers in the KRI

Chair: TBA

11:45 – 12:00 Mariwan Naqshabandi, DG, Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs

12:00 – 12:15 Nazar Hanna, DG of Assyrian Language

12:15 – 12:30 Khalid Alber, DG of Christian Affairs

12:30 – 12:45 Kheiri Bozani, DG of Yezidi Affairs

12:45 – 13:30 Discussion

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch


PANEL 3: Ethnic and Religious Minorities in the Disputed Areas

Chair: Abdulhakeem Khosro, IRDK

14:30 – 14:45 Viyan Dakhil, Iraq MP from Sinjar

14:45 – 15:00 Vala Fareed, Member of Kurdistan Parliament

15:00 – 15:15 Mohammed Ehsan, Former KRI Minister of Human Rights

15:15 – 15:30 Najmaddin Karim, Governor of Kirkuk

15:30 – 15:45 William Warda, President of AIM-Alliance of Iraqi Minorities

15:45 – 16:30 Discussion

16:30 – 16:45 Wrap Up, Sardar Mohammed, Global Education

Read more about OPEN DEBATES 4

*Date: May 23rd, 2017
**Venue: Duhok Private Technical Institution, Malta/Duhok - *please see the Map of the Venue at the bottom of this page*
OPEN THINK TANK is announcing a new event, organized in partnership with the *GLOBAL EDUCATION Company for Education and Culture Development*.

The goal of the event is to delve into the complexities of the formation and shaping of the content and structure of the Education Policy in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The event is focused (but not limited to) the following questions:
1. Is there a clear Education Policy in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq?
2. What is the content and structure of this policy?
3. What could be done to improve the actual state of facts, how and who should be involved in the process?


9.00-9.30 Registration and welcoming of participants

09.30-09.40 Opening and presentation of the event
What is the aim and what we desire to achieve during this Open Debate?

- Sardar Mohammed, Global Education
- Mohammedali Taha, Open Think Tank

09.40-09.50 Keynote Speech: Farhad Atrushi, Governor of Duhok

09.50-10.00 Survey ResultsWhither Education Policy in the KRI? Perspectives from teachers and university professors, teaching in Duhok.
A survey conducted by Global Education and Open Think Tank.

- Sagvan Taib, Global Education
- Angela Movileanu, Open Think Tank

10.00-11.30 PanelWhither Education Policy in the KRI? Perspectives on the Higher Education

Moderator: Nawzad Aqrawi, Global Education
- Asmat Mohammed Khalid, Former Minister of Education, 2011-2013
- Ibrahim Simo, Head of Education Committee at KRI Parliament
- Ahmed Qarani, Advisor to Minister of Education
- Msgr. Rabban al-Qas, International School of Duhok

11.30-13.00 Panel: Whither Education Policy in KRI? Perspectives on the pre-University Education

Moderator: Nezar Esmat, Open Think Tank
- Dawood Atrushi, DG, Ministry of Higher Education
- Amad M. Salih, Nawroz University
- Honar Issa, The American University of Kurdistan
- Sabah Wais, University of Duhok

13.00-13.10 Wrap-Up: Bakhtiyar Ahmed, Open Think Tank and Global Education

13.10- Lunch

Get Access to the program of the open debate 3

Get Access to the survey results and the report of open debate 3


Get access to the program and report of OPEN Debates 2

The OTT conference “2014 KRG Year in Crisis” has attempted to reveal some of the meanings that the refugee crisis of 2015 had for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Heated discussions brought different points of view, from government, parliament and policy practitioners, to researchers and civil society. An intense exchange of ideas touched upon survival issues that the region has been dealing with for decades, up to social and political problems posed by the war with the Islamic State. Local, regional and international perspectives, made us agree that we need to cooperate on a common view for our future and contribute towards building a tolerant and open society.

Get access to the program of OPEN DEBATES 1

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